As if last month’s stupid denier arguments weren’t stupid enough, this is what Rep. John Boehner (R – OH) said in regards to the recent EPA endangerment finding:
the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.
Two things: First Boehner is right, CO2 in not a carcinogen. But absolutely no one is making that claim, so why bring it up? It only makes him sound like a complete moron that uses long words in a vain attempt at sounding smart. For the record here is a partial list of other things CO2 is not:
- part of the homosexual agenda
- part of a nutritious breakfast
- a good source of fibre
- a micro-blogging service that limits posts to 140 characters
Which brings us to the second issue I have with his laughably stupid statement. I am going to assume that when he says “you know, when they [cows] do what they do” he means when cows fart. Or does he have trouble saying burp on live TV? The fact is that cow farts aren’t a big deal, it is cow burps we are worried about; 98% of a cow’s GHG emissions come from it’s mouth. Either way he is wrong; cow burps (or farts if you happen to be fixated on the 2% of emissions that come out a cow’s rear) don’t emit CO2 they emit methane, a totally different gas that also happens to be GHG.
Oh and just so we are clear methane is also not a carcinogen.
There are a few other contradictions in what Boehner said, like the old “humans aren’t causing it, and China and India have to stop causing it too” cognitive dissonance, but they aren’t as mind bogglingly stupid.
Is it really too much to expect even a junior high school level of comprehension on one of the most critical issues of our time?
UPDATE: I should add, that I am fully aware that it is only a matter of time before a climate change denier makes the post title inaccurate. Boehner’s claim may the the stupidest I have heard, but deniers are nothing if not determined, and it is only a matter of time until Boehner is bested.
UPDATE 2: Here is the video of Rep. John Boehner making a fool of himself:
CO2 of course is not itself carcinogenic … but in high-pollution places (like Los Angeles), high CO2 worsens effects of carcinogens already in the atmosphere. I.e., CO2 is actually a local pollutant *in some places* (a bunch of which are here in California).
See Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson testimony to Congress April 9, 2008, especially the written testimony.
Of course, Boehner is embarrassing, but in addition, like many politicians, he does not understand the long-term effects of YouTube…